One of the most gratifying things about a job can be the people you work with. At various points in my career (including now) I’ve had the good fortune of working with some amazing people. These are people who have inspired me, made me think, motivated me to “up my game,” and just generally had a positive influence on me. After interacting with these folks I feel like I can do more; faster; better; stronger.
Of course, the truly amazing folks – the ones who most exemplify this ideal — are harder to find than I’d like them to be. I value and appreciate LOTS of the people I work with, but the best of the best really are rare. I think most workplaces have the luxury of only a few of these people. (I know when I think back through the various places I have worked, there are usually only one or two individuals who I would say match the description.)
And this dearth, while perfectly natural, makes me wonder: How do I get more of these people into my life? How do I create conditions that make it easier for me to find these superpeople and tap into their knowledge and awesomeness?
I’ve imagined creating some sort of dream-team of coworkers, where each time I meet one of these amazing people, I somehow recruit them to work with me, and eventually we end up with a cast of characters fit for a nonprofit fundraising super-hero summer blockbuster film.
Obviously I have yet to make this dream a reality. And something tells me it is unlikely to become a reality any time soon.
So where does that leave me? To this point, I have had some success meeting and interacting with some supersmart folks through our professional association. I’ve served on some committees and boards with some of the field’s sharpest professionals, and I’ve done my best to hobnob with others at our conferences. This helps, but I still find myself wanting more. Earlier this month, I had a great conversation with a colleague at our annual conference, and even though it was nearly an hour of talking shop, I left the conversation regretting not having more time to talk.
And conferences only come around so often. To fill in the gaps I’ve found time to reach out to colleagues at other organizations to pick their brain about a specific quandary. People are (nearly) always willing to chat for a bit and share their experience and insights, which provides the double benefit of helping me solve a pressing problem and refilling my need-to-interact-with-amazing-people quotas.
All of this is good. It helps. I certainly don’t feel as though my life is devoid of interaction with amazing people. But ultimately, I often feel like it could be better. There have got to be more opportunities to find and connect with the amazing people. Now if I can just figure out how…